IT’S A COMMON QUESTION facing
parents: Which video games are
appropriate for my children? The
game ratings applied by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board
(ESRB) listed on packages are a good
place to start, but they lack in-depth
details and have come under attack
for being too lenient.
ELEC TRONIC AR TS
Fortunately, several excellent sources
are available for parents who want to
find out more about the games their
children are playing, or want to play.
A good plan of attack is to start with
the ESRB ratings, which are listed
www.esrb.org, then do further
research if necessary. Here’s what
the ratings mean.
Games for the holidays
EC For early childhood (age 3
and up). Titles contain no
material that parents would
coming to a game
console near you
Hot video games this season feature two
favorite subjects: Harry Potter, pictured
above, and Star Wars, below.
E For everyone age 6 and up.
May contain minimal cartoon,
fantasy or mild violence and/or
infrequent use of mild language.
and weaknesses, as they explore lands based on
both the books and the Disney movie.
By Steven L. Kent Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (rated E).
Flying brooms, blast-ended skrewts and drag-
WHAT WILL BE HOT this Christ- ons—Harry Potter has entered the Triwizard
mas? A young wizard will face drag- Tournament and there is no way he can sur-
ons and mermen, a little chicken vive without a lot of help from his friends.
will try to save the world and a 10-ton gorilla Playing as Ron, Hermione and especially
will lose his heart and his life in New York. Yes, Harry, in the most combat-oriented Potter
Harry Potter, Chicken Little and King Kong are game to date, players must solve the mystery
coming to theaters this holiday season, but of the Goblet of Fire.
they’ll also make a big splash in games.
Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony have all Teen tastes
announced an exciting lineup of games for the Peter Jackson’s King Kong (expected to be
holiday season. Here’s a look at the hottest titles, rated T). Sometimes you’re a giant gorilla
available over the holidays in the warehouses swinging through jungles both urban and
and at costco.com. primordial, sometimes you’re a normal-size
human. Whether it’s a matter of fighting off
E10+ For everyone age 10 and up.
May contain more cartoon,
fantasy or mild violence, mild
language and/or minimal
T For teens 13 and up. May
contain violence, suggestive
themes, crude humor, minimal
blood and/or infrequent use of
M For mature audiences age 17
and up. May contain intense
violence, blood and gore, sexual
content and/or strong language.
AO For adults only, 18 and older.
May include prolonged scenes of
intense violence and/or graphic
sexual content and nudity.
Chicken Little (rated E). The sky may
not be falling, but the aliens are coming in this wacky war of the worlds.
Whether you are playing the two-dimensional side-scrolling adventure
for Game Boy or the 3-D version for
the bigger systems, your job is to help
the little chicken with the big head
out-think and out-shoot the aliens.
Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The
Witch, and the Wardrobe (rated T for
console versions and E for handheld).
The White Witch and her evil horde
have dark plans for the worlds of
Narnia. Players control four heroes,
each with his or her own strengths
A helpful Web site for parents is
operated by the National Institute on
Media and the Family at www.media
family.org. The institute, a resource
center for research, information and
education about the impact of the
media on children and families, offers
candid reviews of video games.
Parents can also find game reviews
from the Parents Television Council
www.parentstv.org and at Parent
h can be accessed at
om under “Parent
n “Video Games